Sunday, August 3, 2014

Lord of Sherwood by Laura Strickland

A tale of Robin Hood's descendants!

New release for August 8, 2014

Curlew Champion, master archer, has always known his destiny.  With his cousin, Heron Scarlet, he will become a guardian of Sherwood Forest and further his people’s fight against Norman Tyranny.  But the third member of the triad is still to be revealed, the woman who will complete the magical circle and, perhaps, answer the longing in Curlew’s heart.

Anwyn Montfort has fled disgrace in Shrewsbury and come to Nottingham at her father’s bidding.  He wishes her to make a good marriage and settle down.  But the wildness that possesses her refuses to quiet.  She knows she’s been searching for something all her life, but not until she glimpses Curlew does her spirit begin to hope it has found its home.

Only the magic of Sherwood can bring them together, and only their union can complete the spell woven so long ago …
“Father,” she said. “How went your day?”
“Well enough, though there is work here for a thousand foresters and I have been given but eight. ’Tis not that which troubles me now. What should reach my ears upon my return this evening but tales of you?” He added deliberately, “Yet again.”
Anwyn’s breath caught in her throat and formed a lump of pain. She did not want to vex her father, nor to hurt him—God knew he had been hurt enough by her mother’s death.
He set aside his bow and quiver and came to the hearth where Anwyn sat. For a long moment he stood studying her, and she braced herself for what must come—an onslaught of disapproval and, worse, disappointment.
As he sat down at her side she could not keep from asking, “What have you heard? Who has been speaking out of turn?”
He did not answer but instead said, “You promised you would not do this, Anwyn. You vowed we would make a new beginning here at Nottingham.”
Her shame on his behalf made her defensive. “What have I done? What, that is so terrible?”
“Four days we have been here,” he said heavily, “and already they speak of you, the folk of the castle. The Wild Lass—that is what they call you. You lied to me, Anwyn.”
The accusation struck deep, but she managed to raise her eyes to his, which were full of sorrow.
Before he could continue, she lifted her hands and spoke, still defensively. “You cannot expect me to stay trapped here like an animal. I will go mad.”
“You could not give me four days? We are barely settled in; there is much to occupy you.”
“What? What is to occupy me? Folding away our clothing? Arranging the trinkets we brought from Shrewsbury? Nesting? I am, Father, not meant for nesting.”
“Quite plainly, and yet, Daughter, you will need to learn. Care you nothing for your reputation, or mine?”
Anwyn shook her head.
Her father’s expression hardened, yet his voice remained gentle as he said, “Then I must care enough for both of us. I love you, Daughter. You are all that is left to me of your dear mother.”
Anwyn felt her heart break. Tears filled the back of         her throat. “I know.”
“But I cannot have you behaving with such abandon, running about unescorted and with your hair loose, stealing from the market stalls—oh, aye, you were seen. Speaking to strange men in a provocative manner. Are we truly to have all that ugliness again?”
Anwyn met his gaze with a combination of shame and defiance. “I have done naught I should not.”
“By the grace of God! Do you not know what would have happened at the hands of that soldier back on the borders, and likely all his companions, had you not been discovered? You promised me, Anwyn, it would not happen again.”
“It has not.”
“It begins! You play a dangerous game, as I have told you. Not every man will allow himself to be put off at your whim.”
“I know that.” Anwyn got to her feet, no longer able to sit still. “How can you expect me to remain here endlessly? Let me ride out into the forest with you, Da, as we used to do. Let me be of some service.”
“I cannot.”
She ignored him and hurried on, “You know you have taught me to shoot almost as well as you do, and Ihave a good eye.”
“Nay, Daughter—it would merely cause more    scandal. What served on the uncivilized Welsh borders  will not do here.”
“Is Sherwood not uncivilized?”
He raked her with a troubled look. “You are a child           no longer, but a woman full grown. That is what makes your disobedience all the more dangerous. It is time you        made your mind up to live the life available to you.”
“And what is that?”
“Marriage.” He raised a hand. “Now, Daughter, before you fly at me, only listen. There is a man among my foresters—”
“The one we met in Sherwood?” Fierce hope rose in Anwyn’s heart. Was it possible he might be part of her father’s company after all?

Available 8/8/14 from Amazon or The Wild Rose Press.

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